Price paid: C$ 750
Purchased from: The Interweb
Sound — 9
I'm a rhythm guitar player and singer, so my style and sound is very melodic and chord-esque. This guitar sounds amazing for what I play. When I'm playing clean, it has a beautiful, clear tone (I play through a Fender HotRod Deluxe (1X12) and when I go into overdrive, it rocks just right! The stuff I'm doing is classic rock-ish to modern rockish (say, CCR to The Who to Pearl Jam to The Strokes). The only potential problem for some may be that the P-94's, being high gain pickups, do hum a little when not being played. However, if you are a gigging musician, like moi, then you shouldn't care, because the din in the room is WAY louder than the incidental hum! However, if you are a basement tone freak, this may bother you. If it does, why did you go for P-94s?!
Overall Impression — 9
If you love semi-hollows, classic rock, modern rock, if you love guitars this is a good one! (If you can find it) And at a good price, comparatively. It's not a Gibson, but this Epiphone has it's own charms, not least of which is that Epis are lighter! So less back trouble in the long run! I hope to god someone doesn't steal this one, because it was hard enough finding a way to get this guitar the FIRST time! I mean, I'm in a major city (Montreal) and I checked an even more major city (Toronto), why would we not have any of these in Canada? Boggles my mind.
Reliability & Durability — 9
No problems with it yet. I've gigged for months with it, and it's still going strong! Personally, it's the only electric guitar I need, though I have a back-up Epiphone Les Paul Studio in case I break a string during a set! I can't imagine this thing conking out on me, but as with anything man made, anything could happen! I don't think it is likely though!
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The set up was okay (I bought this over eBay, since I couldn't find one ANYWHERE in Canada! ) from the place that sold it to me. I brought it to my Luthier in Montreal shortly after I got it to fix it just right. This thing plays like butter. I use Jazz gauge strings (since the heavier gauge G string sounds better on semi-hollows) which is fine since I don't solo too much. This really gives the whole guitar a warmer, fuller sound. The colour is what some people may not like about this guitar. It's orange. More Orange than the pictures let on. I would go so far to say that it's a light racing Orange. When the guitar arrived, I was a little surprised at first, since it is supposed to be a 'Natural' finish (or so Epiphone's site says), but this is definitely Orange. That said, when you are on stage, this guitar pops! People freak out. It is not a colour people are used to seeing! As a result, people are constantly asking about it. Personally, I've grown to love the colour. But to each his/her own!
Features — 10
The Nick Valensi Edition Riviera is basically an Epiphone Riviera with P-94 pickups instead of the P-90's it would normally be equipped with. Everything else is basically identical in apperance to a Dot, Casino, Sheridon II or Gibson 335. It is semi-hollow goodness!